ABC Science Show - CSIRAC the first computer to play music

22 June 2019

CSIRAC Melbourne MuseumCSIRAC Melbourne Museum

On Saturday 22 June 2019, the ABC Science Show had a special feature Recreating the first digital computer music. Presented by Carl Smith in the second half of the podcast (31 minute mark).

In 1949, Australia leapt into the digital age when the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Automatic Computer (CSIRAC) began running its first stored programs. Computer scientists and programmers used the machine to generate some of the first numerical weather forecasts, to design electrical grids, and to run nuclear physics calculations.

They didn't stop there though - some wanted to teach the computer how to sing. History almost forgot about Australia's place in creating the world's first digital computer music. But a music historian and a team of researchers have recreated those first early bleeps, and restored CSIRAC's place in the history books.

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